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Unformatted text preview: A P R I L 2 0 0 9 In the words of the country’s first prime min- ister, Liaquat Ali Khan, Pakistan is the “heart of Asia.” 1 Located at the crossroads between the Middle East and South and Central Asia, Pakistan has indeed proved the truth of these words throughout its history. Today, with neighboring Afghanistan in dire straits, many are looking to Pakistan in search of solutions to Afghanistan’s problems, among them U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who has repeatedly said that Afghanistan cannot be stabilized without simultaneously tackling the challenges of Pakistan. 2 Analysts have identified two groups of is- sues facing Pakistan: Political problems (unstable and ineffec- tive democratic institutions; the closed na- ture of Pakistan’s elite, which makes it hard to achieve broad national consensus; the armed forces’ and security agencies’ excessive influ- ence on the political process; and weak gov- ernment control of the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan and Iran); International security problems (ensuring the safety of nuclear weapons, technology and materials; the presence of international terror- Islam and the Paths of Pakistan’s Political Development P E T E R T O P Y C H K A N O V n National identity remains a very serious issue in Pakistan today. There has never been a clear answer to the question of how many nations live within the country — one or more. n The constitutional process, accompanied by tensions in communal relations, bears witness to serious ideological differ- ences in society over the role religion should play in social and political life. n Pakistan’s Islamization, through giving traditional Muslim standards legal force, has not been completed, but many tra- ditional standards have now been written into law and have thus become an integral part of the country’s political and legal system. n Solutions to Pakistan’s problems should be based on comprehensive approaches that avoid experiments with Islam — one of the foundations of Pakistan’s statehood — and emphasize administrative, social, economic, and security issues. S U M MARY Vol.11 issue 2 BRIEFING M O S C O W C E N T E R CARNEGIE 2 BRIEFING [ VOL. 11 ISSUE 2 ] ist groups in the country); regional security issues (the unresolved problem of Kashmir; the dispute with India over the division of the Indus River’s water resources; the unresolved issue of the Afghan-Pakistani border; the activi- ties of regional extremist and terrorist groups on Pakistani and Kashmiri territory); and do- mestic security issues (anti-government activi- ties by terrorist and extremist groups; conflicts between Sunni and Shiite religious groups; separatist tendencies, not yet very widespread, among Baluchis and Pashtuns)....
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- Fall '11